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                    THE  TERRITORY  F ROM  CHAOS  T O  NOISE   AN   I NTRODUCTION   T O   N OISE   M USIC  

                                  BY   ANDRÉ   G   PINTO  

2012  


Abstract     This   dissertation   attempts   to   discern   an   ontology   of   the   artistic   gesture   as   a   libertarian  practice  driven  by  the  motto  of  an  inborn  paradoxical  nature,  in  order   to  provide  a  theoretical,  aesthetical  and  political  introduction  to  noise  music  in   current  times.  This  is  made  through  the  theorization  and  articulation  of  the  idea   of   a   dialectical   paradox;   the   aporia   that   roots   man’s   ‘instability’   in   the   arts   practice.  It  is  the  attempt  of  ‘destroying’  ‘art’  in  its  dissolution  in  life,  for  the  sake   of  life  itself.     It  is  suggested  that  man’s  eager  for  creative  practice  is  contained  in  a  paradox   ‘primal   aesthetical   epiphany’   of   evolution,   which   provoked   the   detachment   from   survival  and  an  awareness  of  self,  therefore,  of  self  in  nature.  It  is  this  epiphany   that  will  be  the  motto  for  the  aesthetical  and  humanistic  search  for  new  forms  of   ‘free   beauty’   in   order   to   reach   new   territories   of   the   ‘chaos’.   This   search   is   understood  as  a  political  stance  in  the  human  social  environment  and  the  main   essence  of  the  avant-­‐garde  programmes.   Finally,   it   is   made   a   contextualization   of   the   world   of   late   capitalism—the   society  of  the  spectacle—upon  art,  and  discussed  the  ‘noise  of  its  silence’.  

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Contents     1  THE  PARADOX  OF  ART............................................................................................................VII   Prélude............................................................................................................................................................ vii   Framing  the  Primal  Chaos ....................................................................................................................viii   The  Paradox  of  Detachment.................................................................................................................. xii   2  INTERLUDE:  ON  MUSIC  AND  TERRITORY ......................................................................XVII   The  Animal  in  Music ............................................................................................................................... xvii   3  THE  PARADOX  OF  VANGUARD ........................................................................................ XXIII   Aesthetical-­Codes  and  Free  Beauty................................................................................................. xxiv   The  Paradox-­Object ..............................................................................................................................xxvii   4  NEW  TERRITORIES,  NEW  PARADOX:  THE  NOISE  OF  SILENCE ............................ XXXIV   Spectacle,  Simulacra............................................................................................................................. xxxv   Noise ........................................................................................................................................................ xxxviii   5  APPENDIX..................................................................................................................................XLV   6  BIBLIOGRAPHY.....................................................................................................................XLVII  

 

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The  Paradox  of  Art  

      All  the  thinking  and  research  I  make  on  ‘art’  and  aesthetics  assures  me  more  and   more   of   my   belief   that   this   term   containing   a   very   erratic   defining   concept   is   actually  an  obstacle  to  what  I  regard  as  being  the  goal  of  the  creative  exploration,   expression,  and  experiencing  of  aesthetics.  For  the  attempt  of  defining  ‘art’  and   framing   it   as   a   sterile   concept   is   precisely   the   gesture   of   confinement   that   provides  it  with  its  own  imprisonment.   Paradoxically,   there   is   no   way   of   critically   analysing   the   process   of   aesthetical   creativity   without   utilizing   the   term   ‘art’,   even   though   its   definition   is   never   clear.  In  this  chapter  I  will  be  making  use  of  it  as  a  signifier  for  ‘aesthetic  product   of   the   human   creative   genius’,   and   will   attempt   to   express   its   aporetic   self-­‐ destructive   nature.   This   chapter   will   also   provide   the   necessary   base   data   to   what  I  believe  to  be  the  inherent  socio-­‐political  character  contained  in  the  root  of   artistic  expression,  which  will  constitute  the  body  of  this  paper,  in  order  to  reach   a   contextual   understanding   of   ‘noise’   in   society   of   today   and   ‘noise   music’   within   it.  

Prélude     Probably   most   of   us   who   are   interested   in   the   deeper   thinking   of   ‘the   arts’   practice  and  aesthetics  have  been  confronted  with  the  intriguing  inner  thoughts   or   actual   debates   on   whether   something   is   or   is   not   art.   It   is   curious   how   people   so  many  times  can  be  so  confident  to  declare  ‘FOR  ME  this  is  not  art’  based  on   the   fact   that   it   doesn’t   demonstrate   great   technical   skills,   or   simply   because   it   may   not   be   ‘beautiful’.   For   ‘someone   that   makes   stuff’   (as   I   usually   nominate  


myself,   for   I   never   really   had   the   nerve   to   admit   that   I   am   an   artist   and   don’t   believe  I  am  longing  to  consider  myself  one,  for  it  is  a  social  status  I  do  not  really   aspire  to),  I  am  usually  comfortable  with  some  of  my  aesthetical  creations  to  be   ‘not   art’.   Art   is   not   something   that   I   wish   what   I   do   to   be,   not   a   goal.   I   care   about     aesthetics  and  the  way  they  ‘work’,  I  feel  fairly  indifferent  on  whether  it  is  or  not   art.   But   then   again,   if   one   wishes   to   affirm   that   something   ‘is   or   is   not   art’   one   must  sound  the  question:  what  is  art?  And,  clearly,  with  some  effort  and  dialectic   one  can  maybe  come  up  with  some  answers.  But  it  seems  to  me  that  the  answers   that   are   given,   yet   in   my   understanding   are   very   accurate   about   what   the   creative   process   is   all   about,   they   do   not   seem   to   reach   what   I   consider   to   be   the   paradoxical  essence  of  the  existence  of  ‘art’.  And  that  is  exactly  the  destitution  of   ‘art’   from   its   constantly   reshaping   ‘tower’   (which   cyclically   in   history   becomes   ivory   once   in   a   while)   and   its   dissolution   in   human   creative,   aesthetic   and   philosophic  primal  nature.  A  destitution  of  art  for  the  sake  of  life  and  its  natural   forces;  a  returning  to  the  first  moment  of  sublime  experience.  

Framing  the  Primal  Chaos  

  I   consider   art   to   be   the   practice   of   imagining   (and   perhaps   re-­‐imagining)   life   through  means  of  sensation,  and  for  that  it  functions  parallel  to  it,  as  a  proposal   of   life   expressed   through   sensation.   It   is   not   a   direct   or   objective   translation   of   life.   It   is   rather   a   different   way   of   perceiving   it,   transcribing   it,   a   subjective   human  approach,  a  proposal  of  a  Utopia  and  a  Dystopia,  a  world  of  its  own.     “Art,   in   my   definition,   is   neither   a   description   nor   an   analysis.   It   is   rather   an   analogue   of   human   reality   -­   an   attempt   to   map   the   process   of   integration   of   the   subject  and  object  in  history.”  (Russel,  2008,  p.75)     Of   course   that   this   attempt   Russel   describes   is   clearly   not   a   clinical   survey   of   the   process  of  integration  of  subject  and  object  in  history,  it  is  rather  a  practice  of  a   parallel  process  to  the  one  of  human  life  as  its  own  exaltation.  It  functions  as  a   statement  of  our  existentialism  for  it  is  one  of  the  first  faculties  of  human  life,  if  

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not  the  first  one  to  manifest  in  our  primitive  existence  that  succeeds  the  nature   of  survival.   I   consider   that   the   first   artistic   moment,   and   the   first   necessary   moment   for   the  development  of  an  artistic  gesture  is  the  one  of  experiencing  aesthetics  out  of   the   survival   realm.   By   this   I   mean   that   the   artistic   gesture,   which   I   understand   is   a   moment   of   Kantian   free   beauty   (2007) 1 ,   comes   right   after   the   ‘artistic’   awareness  of  aesthetics  (I  say  artistic  for  it  takes  creativity/imagination  to  sense   the   world   in   a   non-­‐utilitarian   survival   basis),   which   is   an   abstract   and   subjective   realization   beyond   utility   or   instinct   that   focuses   on   the   external   to   reflect   the   internal  and  vice-­‐versa.     This  first  grasp  is  a  moment  of  freedom  from  the  ‘survival  totalitarianism’.  It  is   the   moment   of   awareness   of   self,   and   of   self   in   the   world,   therefore   it   is   the   moment   of   questioning   of   life,   which   is   a   creative   thought,   a   pro-­‐active   proto-­‐ philosophical   moment,   a   moment   of   consciousness,   a   first   imagining   of   life,   the   sublime  moment  in  the  root  of  the  experiencing  of  aesthetics:     “Perhaps   for   the   first   time,   rather   than   being   aware   of   what   he   has   heard   he   notices   he   is   listening.   This   would   be   a   monumental   moment.   The   rain   forest   or   savannah  become  a  symphony  hall.”  (Prévost,  2011,  p.5)     I  do  not  understand  this  ‘moment’  to  have  been  a  fleeting  instant  of  epiphany  in   one   man’s   life,   but   a   gradual   process   of   human   development   in   its   evolution.   Although   we   all   still   punctually   experience   epiphanic   moments   that   resemble   this  (which  I  believe  is  actually  what  we  search  for  in  the  arts  practice),  mostly  in   our   infancy   when   discovering   the   world,   the   difference   is   that   we   are   already   very   distant   to   our   instinctive   survival   nature.   With   this   I   mean   that,   in   a   way,   as                                                                                                                         1  “There   are   two   kinds   of   beauty:   free   beauty   (pulchritudo   vaga),   or   beauty   which   is   merely   dependent   (pulchritudo   adhaerens).   The   first   presupposes   no   concept   of   what   the   object   should   be;   the   second   does   presuppose   such   a   concept   and,   with   it,   an   answering   perfection   of   the   object.   Those   of   the   first   kind   are   said   to   be   (self−subsisting)   beauties   of   this   thing   or   that   thing;   the   other   kind   of   beauty,   being   attached   to   a   concept   (conditioned   beauty),   is   ascribed   to   objects   which   come   under   the   concept   of   a   particular   end.”   (Kant,  1790,  p.32)  

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an  outcome  of  this  ‘first  epiphany’,  our  nature  of  survival  has  evolved  from  one   that  is  based  on  a  direct  utilitarian  use  of  the  senses  to  one  that  is  freer  from  this   utilitarianism  and  may  exercise  the  abstract.  I  would  argue  that  philosophy  arose   as   the   form   of   dealing   consciously   with   this   change   in   order   to   understand   the   environment  in  a  new  way.   This   ‘moment’   was   a   long   process   of   the   acquiring   of   awareness   of   self,   thus   a   milestone  in  human  history.   I  am  convinced  that  this  primal  experience  Prévost  (2011)  talks  about  is  the   main   basis   of   the   artistic   gesture   and   of   its   paradox.   I   believe   that   this   is   the   root   for   the   later   development   of   what   we   now   define   as   art,   same   as   for   religion,   philosophy   and   science.   The   creative   attempt   of   the   human   being   to   ‘connect’   with  what  supersedes  him.  It  is  the  attempt  of  handling  humanly  what  we  may   call  an  understanding  of  a  superior  power:  Nature  vs.  God.     “In  fact,  art  always  attempted  to  represent  the  greatest  possible  power,  the  power   that  ruled  the  world  in  its  totality—be  it  divine  or  natural  power.”  (Groys,   2008,   p.2)     I  would  argue  that  the  same  happens  with  religion,  philosophy  and  science,  and   one  may  realize  that,  in  essence,  the  difference  between  the  abstract  conceptions   of   ‘divinity’   or   ‘nature’   is   not   that   substantial.   The   ‘divine’   and   the   ‘natural’   are   both   essentially   human   attempts   to   frame   in   a   more   tangible   way,   a   concept,   a   representation  of  what  he  feels  to  out-­‐power  him,  the  ‘metaphysical’  attempt  of   understanding   the   dimension   of   life.   In   aesthetics,   Kant   (2007)   calls   the   experience  of  being  struck  by  this  force  the  ‘sublime’  (referring  to  the  perceived   aesthetics   of   nature)  2.   This   is   what   I   believe   to   be   the   aspiration   of   the   artistic   practice,  an  attempt  to  reach  the  reasonless  sublime  forces  of  ‘chaos’  by  humanly   exercising  the  understandless  ‘free  beauty’.                                                                                                                         2  “The   beautiful   in   nature   is   a   question   of   the   form   of   object,   and   this   consists   in   limitation,   whereas   the   sublime   is   to   be   found   in   an   object   even   devoid   of   form,   so   far   as   it   immediately   involves,   or   else   by   its   presence   provokes   a   representation   of   limitlessness,   yet   with   a   superadded   thought   of   its   totality.   Accordingly,   the   beautiful   seems   to   be   regarded   as   a   presentation   of   an   indeterminate   concept   of   understanding,  the  sublime  as  a  presentation  of  an  indeterminate  concept  of  reason.”  (Kant, 1790, p.40)  

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But   to   understand   better   this   turning   moment   of   perceptive   breakthrough,   one  may  consider  that  it  is  the  framing  of  a  concept  that  makes  it  exist,  and  for   that  I  call  Elizabeth  Grosz’s  (2008)  aesthetic  theory  of  ‘chaos  and  territory’3:   According   to   Grosz,   art   is   the   intensification   and   monumentalization   of   sensation  as  it  enables  matter  to  become  expressive,  resonating  with  the  bodies   that  experience  it.  This  means  that  sensation  autonomized  itself  for  the  sake  of   pure   pleasure   of   the   aesthetical   experiencing,   the   ‘letting   go   to   glance   chaos’.   This  chaos  may  be  understood  as  ‘the  beginning’,  nature,  cosmos,  the  vibration  of   the  universe.  It  is  what  is  there  that  is,  and  transcends,  our  human  nature.   The   first   step   we   take   to   define   what   art   is   in   any   form,   is   to   understand   its   boundaries,   that   is,   its   ‘framing’.   The   first   artistic   gesture   is   always   the   architectural  one,  which  is  the  shaping  of  a  territory,  the  frame.  This  territory  is   delimited  out  from  chaos,  and  it  directly  communicates  with  it  and  functions  as  a   ‘window’   of   intensification,   a   port   for   sensorial   deterritorialization.   It   frames   chaos  to  permit  an  intensified  relation  with  the  one  experiencing  it,  the  one  that   destroys  the  frame  again  to  experience  that  ‘piece’  of  chaos.     “With  no  frame  or  boundary  there  can  be  no  territory,  and  without  territory  there   may   be   objects   or   things   but   not   qualities   that   can   become   expressive,   that   can   intensify  and  transform  living  bodies.”  (Grosz,  2008,  p.11)     But  what  is  exactly  this  territory  that  can  intensify  and  transform  living  bodies?   In   my   interpretation   of   it,   this   territory   is   shaped   by   nothing   else   but   the   limits  of  one’s  perception,  for  to  ‘intensify  and  transform  living  bodies’  it  is  the   perceiver  the  one  who  demarks  the  territory  of  perception  and  fruition  over  the   creator’s  framed  territory  of  conception.   I  interpret  this  framing  of  territory  out  of  chaos  as  being  the  various  possible   perceived   elements   that   characterize   an   aesthetical   product,   regardless   of   its   medium  of  expression.  One  may  understand  them  abstractly  as  the  ‘cubes’  that                                                                                                                         3  See  Grosz  2008  p.  10-­‐24.   xi    


build   a   house   and   their   ‘functions’.   I   mean:   Colours,   shapes,   textures,   the   characteristics  of  a  whole...   But   one   ought   to   bear   in   mind   this   understanding   of   chaos/nature,   for   it   is   within  it  that  lies  the  paradox  of  art.  

The  Paradox  of  Detachment  

  “It  was  the  body  that  despaired  of  the  earth—that  heard  the  belly  of  being  speak  to   it.   And  then  it  wanted  to  get  its  head  through  the  ultimate  walls—and  not  its  head   only—over  into  the  ‘other  world’.   But   that   ‘other   world’,   that   inhuman,   dehumanized   world   which   is   heavenly   Nothing,   is   well   hidden   from   man;   and   the   belly   of   being   does   not   speak   to   man,   except  as  man.”   (Nietzsche,  2003,  p.59)     From  the  moment  human  firstly  had  the  epiphanic  experience  that  we  may  call   the  ‘detachment  from  survival’,  Man  himself  stood  aside  the  chaos  that  involved   him   and   whose   he   was   an   integral   part   (which   would   be   at   time,   the   natural   organism   that   integrates   the   survival   nature)   to   be   able   to   sense   it   from   a   perspective.   This   new   ‘ability’,   as   we   may   call   it,   implies   a   development   of   self-­‐ consciousness  for,  to  experience  one  needs  awareness  of  self  as  experiencer,  for   an   experience   is   an   endless   cycle   of   awareness   of   one   in   the   experiencing   environment   and   vice-­‐versa.   One   reflects   oneself   in   chaos   by   reaching   to   chaos   and  reflecting  it  on  oneself.  My  argument  is  that  one,  as  a  human  being,  cannot   experience   chaos   without   self,   therefore   chaos   can   only   function   reflexively.   Positioning   one’s   self   in   perspective   to   this   chaos   means   but   acquiring   an   awareness   of   self   in   chaos,   which   becomes   a   framed   abstract   concept   that   determines  self-­‐identity.  It  is  an  awareness  of  power,  the  genesis  of  humanity.   The   reaching   to   chaos   is   not   a   reaching   to   the   infinity   whole   of   cosmos,   but   reaching   to   the   human-­‐chaos   that   lies   in   one’s   primal   self.   It   is   an   unconscious   attempt   of   re-­‐enactment   of   the   first   awareness   of   self,   therefore   essence   of   nature   in   human   and   human   in   nature.   But   as   we   may   withdraw,   from   Adorno   (1970),   to   corroborate   this   thesis,   is   that   human   understanding   of   nature   is   xii    


cultural4.   Nature   is   cultural   as   for   its   framing,   as   nature   is   a   human   rational   attempt   of   detaching   himself   from   it,   therefore   making   an   artificial   distinction   between   himself   and   nature,   so   he   can   then   find   his   detachment   from   the   primal   self  within  nature.     "Art  does  not  imitate  nature,  not  even  individual  instances  of  natural  beauty,  but   natural  beauty  as  such.  This  denominates  not  only  the  aporia  of  natural  beauty  but   the   aporia   of   aesthetics   as   a   whole.   Its   object   is   determined   negatively,   as   indeterminable.  It  is  for  this  reason  that  art  requires  philosophy,  which  interprets  it   in   order   to   say   what   it   is   unable   to   say,   whereas   art   is   only   able   to   say   it   by   not   saying  it.”  (Adorno,  1970,  p.72)     Taking  apart  this  aporia  of  aesthetics,  one  may  find  the  paradox  of  art  as  I  believe   it  to  be:   The   first   moment   of   experiencing   aesthetics   as   such,   bestowed   by   the   force   of   the  sublime  chaos  is  the  first  moment  of  creativity  beyond  utility,  therefore  the   moment   that   leads   “the  theorizing   mind   to   theorizing,   and  the  emotions   of   human  beings  are  continually  aroused  by  encounters  with  nature”  (Cage,  1961,   p.10)5.   The   original   epiphany   of   sensing   of   aesthetics   is   the   creative   impulse   provoked   a   conscious   detachment   from   self   and   chaos,   the   split   that   outlined   human’s   self-­‐consciousness   by   contrast   to   human’s   perception   of   ‘chaotic   power’.  The  original  artistic  exaltation  is  the  one  of  sensing  the  ‘chaotic’  world  in   an   aesthetical   way   (the   human   out   of   survival)   without   an   intention   of   understanding   (free   beauty)   and   as   an   intensifier   of   sensation.   The   original   artistic   gesture   is   the   one   of   perceiving   reality   in   a   creative   manner,   as   a   resonator   of   the   body.   Only   then   comes   the   creative   attempt   of   understanding.  

                                                                                                                      4  See  1970,  p.  219.  Adorno  disserts  on  the  concept  of  nature  as  a  romantic  imaginary  of  wilderness:  “That  

today  any  walk  in  the  woods,  unless  elaborate  plans  have  been  made  to  seek  out  the  most  remote  forests,  is   accompanied   by   the   sound   of   jet   engines   overhead   not   only   destroys   the   actuality   of  nature   as,   for   instance,   an  object  of  poetic  celebration”.  

5  Cage   refers   to   “hearing   sounds �� which   are   just   sounds”   in   this   sentence,   which   I   understand   as   being   an  

exact  analogy  for  what  I  am  defending.  

xiii    


Then,   more   splits   are   generated,   by   framing   the   different   faculties   of   the   understanding  of  the  perception  of  the  world:  religion,  philosophy  and  science.     “Aristotle   said   that   philosophy   begins   in   wonder—wonder   at   the   fact   that   things   are   how   they   are.   For   Nietzsche,   by   contrast,   philosophy   begins   with   horror— existence  is  something  both  horrible  and  absurd.”  (Pearson,  2005,  p.10)     Taking  these  two  apparently  contrasting  ideas  apart,  we  shall  find  that,  in  their   essence,   they   have   much   in   common.   I   understand   this   Aristotelian   wonder   as   exactly  the  ‘epiphanic  moment’  I  have  been  mentioning  before.  It  is  the  one  that   leads   to   further   creativity   in   the   production   of   an   outcome,   may   it   be   philosophical   or   artistic.   But,   this   wonder,   rather   than   being   at   the   fact   that   ‘things  are  how  they  are’,  has  to  be  at  the  fact  that  things  are  how  we  perceive   them,  which  makes  a  significant  difference  for  the  statement.  It  replaces  human   from  this  rational  absolutism,  godlike  entity  into  a  subject  of  fallible  qualities.  We   cannot   actually   claim   that   grasp   of   ‘noumenon’   reality   (that   chaos),   for   we   can   only  deal  with  our  own  perception,  therefore  things  are  how  we  perceive  them   individually,   integrated   in   the   context   we   are   in   as   objects   of   our   senses.   This   slight   change   on   dialectics   makes   possible   a   straight   connection   to   Nietzsche’s   existentialist  idea  where  the  wonder  becomes  horror  because  of  the  realization   of   one’s   condition   of   individual   existence   in   the   world,   the   detachment   to   Nietzsche’s   Dionysian   world,   where   the   separate   identities   are   dissolved   and   human   beings   are   reconciled   with   the   elemental   forces   and   energies   of   nature— how   I   understand   to   be   the   ‘primal/original   cosmic   chaos’,   where   the   human   being  is  dissolved  in,  has  a  perception  of  (what  I  before  have  called  the  idea  of   sublime   one   strives   to   reach   with   the   practice   of   art),   but   has   no   grasp   at,   except   for  its  inner  common  human  part—the  human-­‐chaos.   This   Nietzschian  ‘horror’   is   the   realization   of   the   absurdity   of   existence.   It   is   the   recognition   of   our   cosmic   insignificance,   i.e.   the   understanding   of   one’s   uselessness   of   self   in   cosmos,   the   lack   of   an   ultimate   purpose   to   human   existence.   Given   this,   I   believe   art   acts   again   as   an   important   paradoxical   subject   to   this   equation.   It   is   exactly   the   emphatic   element   to   this   ‘horrified’   existentialism,   it   is   the   stress   of   human   condition   by   reiteration,   that,   all   the   xiv    


same,   functions   cathartically   as   well   as   it   deepens   the   human   being   in   its   existentialism  of  insignificance  and  uselessness  by  presenting  itself  as  a  reflexion   of  that  same  uselessness.       Art   doesn’t   function   as   a   tool   of   understanding   but   rather   as   an   analogue   of   life,  a  statement  of  existentialism,  a  framing  of  the  chaos,  which  is  nothing  but  a   humanized  perception  of  it,  our  own  Umwelt.6  Its  paradox  is  that  it  is  rooted  in   the  sublime  experience  of  the  chaotic  forces  that  it  strives  to  achieve  as  a  product   of   the   exercise   of   free   beauty.   Art   is   the   human   attempt   to   transcend   its   condition,   to   reach   the   humanly   unreachable   nature/chaos   by   magnifying,   enhancing,   emphasizing   its   own   humanity.   This   falls   back   into   the   framing   of   the   ‘(chaos)   reflected   self-­‐identity’   against   the   framing   of   a   selfless   cosmic   chaos.   This   is   the   framing   of   human   creative   territory   that   paradoxically   aspires   to   eliminate   that   same   territory   in   order   to   achieve   back   the   ‘original   chaos’,   which   results   in   the   re-­‐enactment   of   the   primal   sensing   of   aesthetics   by   the   praxis   of   free  beauty.     “Art  is  not  the  accomplishment  of  ‘higher’  existence,  whether  conceived  mentally  or   spiritually,  but  is  an  elaboration  of  the  most  primitive  and  elementary  fragments  of   an  ancient  animal  prehistory.”  (Grosz,  2008,  p.35)     The   paradox   lies   in   art   which   is   itself   a   paradox.   It   is   the   attempt   of   reaching   the   extra-­‐human  forces  of  chaos,  what  cannot  be  done  without  their  reflexion  on  our   human   condition,   which   turns   out   that   that   is   our   ‘chaos’.     Our   humanity   is   in   itself  part  of  the  cosmic  chaos,  so  the  attempt  of  reaching  chaos  with  the  practice   of  aesthetics  will  fail  at  the  same  extent  as  it  will  succeed:   “Each  something  is  a   celebration  of  the  nothing  that  supports  it”  (Cage,  1961,  p.139).     Art   is   fuelled   by                                                                                                                         6  Meaning   ‘environment’   or   ‘surrounding   world’   in   German, Umwelt is the term used by the Estonian biosemiotitian Jakob von Uexkül (1957) to define human and animal’s world of perceptions by their biological functions, i.e., the way different species experience their lifeworlds through the understanding of their milieus and the milieus’ interaction with their sensing-bodies; “It is literally a form by which nature can be understood as dynamic, collective, lived rather than just fixed, categorized, or represented.” (Grosz, 2008).  

xv    


the  pursuit  of  its  own  destruction.  It  aims  to  the  infinite  where  it  dissolves  back   into  

life.

xvi    


2

 

 

Interlude:  on  Music  and  Territory  

      “[Music]   strips   bodies   of   their   inertia,   of   the   materiality   of   their   presence:   it   disembodies  bodies…”   (Deleuze,  2003,  p.21)     We   shall   now   quickly   drive   our   attention   toward   an   ontology   of   music   as   a   continuity  from  the  reflection  on  ‘the  paradox  of  art’.  The  information  discussed   in  this  chapter  will  serve  as  one  of  the  bases  needed  for  the  last  chapter,  which   will  finally  debouch  in  a  contextual  introduction  to  what  may  be  understood  as   noise   music.   I   have   named   this   chapter   ‘interlude’   because   I   understand   it   in   a   way  as  an  extension  of  the  last  chapter,  only  a  more  specific  grasp  on  music  and   its  relation  to  the  human  animal.  Throughout  this  chapter  I  will  be  studying  and   considering  mostly  the  ontological  perspective  of  Elizabeth  A.  Grosz’s  on  music   and   territory,   who   in   turn   disserts   on   Darwin   and   Deleuze   and   Guattari.   After   this  necessary  interlude  I  will  be  attempting  to  move  forward  to  a  more  political,   practical  and  contemporary  articulation  of  art  in  the  modern  world  since  the  20th   century,   so   that   later   on   I   shall   focus   more   specifically   on   its   condition   of   self-­‐ destruction  and  rejuvenation  with  ‘noise’  out  of  the  ‘silence’.  

The  Animal  in  Music  

  “Music  has  survived,  not  because  it  is  reducible  to  something  useful  or  practically   relevant   in   everyday   life,   precisely   because   it   is   not   useful   but   serves   the   vaguer   purposes  of  evocative  intensification  and  pleasure.”   (Grosz,  2008,  p.35–6)     Before   the   evolutionary   step   that   made   the   human   being   detach   his   creative   expression  from  his  primal  nature,  art  was  dissolved  in  life  as  part  of  this  nature,  


Interlude:  On  Music  and  Territory     and   it   is   suggested   that,   especially   music,   arouse   from   within   the   territory   we   may  define  as  sexual  selection.   According   to   Darwin,   “music   precedes   language   and   is   the   direct   result   of   sexual   selection   not   of   natural   selection”   (Grosz,   2008,   p.31).   With   this   it   is   suggested   that   human’s   music   origins   lie   deeper   in   survival   than   the   necessity   of   a  creation  of  a  language  for  communication,  as  the  ability  to  attract  a  mate.  It  is   rooted   in   sexual   selection   as   for   its   origins   lie   in   its   erotic   and   enticing   appeal.   Language   arises   later   as   the   normalized   adaptation   of   this   primarily   sexually   elaborated  characteristic.     It   is   interesting   to   understand   that   maybe   a   subliminal   awareness   of   this   sexuality  contained  in  art  and  especially  in  music  remits  back  to  ancient  Greece   by   the   fact   that   the   word   ‘music’,   derived   from   the   Greek   word   mousikē,  which   does  not  mean  ‘music’  itself  for  there  was  no  word  for  such   in  ancient  Greece,  its   meaning   rather   embraces   all   the   cultural   activities   which   we   may   call   today   humanities.   The   word   literally   means   ‘the   business   of   the   muses’   (Hamilton,   2007,  p.13).  Muses  were  the  goddesses  of  artistic  inspiration  who  sponsored  all   intellectual   and   cultural   activities   and   curiously,   sometimes   referred   in   myths   as   water   nymphs,   or   in   others,   as   daughters   of   Aphrodite,   the   goddess   of   love,   beauty,  pleasure  and  procreation.     Darwin   suggests   that   perception,   if   not   enjoyment,   of   musical   cadences   and   rhythm   is   probably   common   to   all   animals.   Vibration   affects   living   bodies   depending   on   the   common   physiological   nature   of   their   nervous   systems.   It   seems  that  even  crustaceans,  which  are  not  capable  of  producing  any  sounds  of   their  own,  possess  auditory  hairs,  which  vibrate  when  the  proper  musical  notes   are   struck.   Dogs   howl   when   subjected   to   particular   tones   and   seals   apparently   appreciate  music,  which  is  a  fact  that  their  hunters  seem  to  know  since  ancient   times,  and  take  advantage  of  it.   There  is  something  about  vibration,  even  in  the  most  primitive  creatures,  that   produces   pleasurable   or   intensifying   sensations,   it   “excites   organs,   and   invests   movements   with   greater   force   or   energy”   (Grosz,   2008,   p.33).   What   one   can   conclude  from  this  is  that  this  force  is  not  directly  addressed  to  survival  or  the   xviii    


Interlude:  On  Music  and  Territory     acquisition  of  pragmatic  skills,  but  rather  linked  to  sexual  selection  in  the  form  of   expression   and   intensification,   to   “the   increasing   differentiation   of   sexes   from   each   other   and   to   the   operative   value   of   attractiveness   and   taste   in   the   appeal   that   individuals   of   each   sex   exert   (or   do   not   exert)   for   their   desired   partners”   (Grosz,  2008,  p.33).   By   extrapolating   from   the   birdsong,   which   for   Darwin   is   what   “most   clearly   reveals   the   sexual   nature   of   song,   the   productive   role   of   sexual   selection   in   the   elaboration   of   arts”   (Grosz,   2008),   perhaps   one   can   get   an   idea   of   the   existing   relation  between  music/‘song’  and  living  bodies  in  its  primitive  form  embedded   in   life.   Similarly   to   ‘art’   of   humans,   as   seen   before,   birdsong   intensifies   lived   situations,  it  reflects  the  bird’s  own  experiences  and  observations  on  other  birds:   fear,  anger,  joy  and  triumph.     “With   birds   the   voice   serves   to   express   various   emotions,   such   as   distress,   fear,   anger,  triumph  or  mere  happiness.  It  is  apparently  sometimes  used  to  excite  terror,   as  with  the  hissing  noise  made  by  some  nestling  birds...  The  true  song,  however,  of   most   birds   and   various   strange   cries   are   chiefly   uttered   during   the   breeding   season,  and  serve  as  a  charm,  or  merely  as  a  call-­note,  to  the  other  sex.”  (Darwin,   2008,  p.37)     One   can   make   the   parallel   between   bird   and   human   song,   and   detect   some   proximities,   for   similarly   as   in   human   song,   emotional   sensations   are   the   aim;   they   are   what   is   intended   to   be   elaborated   and   intensified.   “Something  like  ‘love’   or   courtship   functions   as   the   most   common   theme,   which   tends   to   confirm   its   primarily  role  in  sexual  functioning”  (Grosz,  2008,  p.37).     “Music   develops   and   survives   not   because   it   bestows   upon   us,   its   agents   and   listeners,   some   direct   advantage   but   because   it   is   pleasing   and   thus   serves   to   attract  others  to  us  and  us  to  others.”  (Grosz,  2008,  p.36)       However,   according   to   Nietzsche,   absolute   music   (the   one   that   is   purely   the   exercise  of  creative  abstraction)  does  not  have  this  same  relation  with  emotion,   but   rather   with   sensation.   It   is  not  very  significant  for  our  “inner  world,  not  so   xix    


Interlude:  On  Music  and  Territory     profoundly   exciting,   that   it   can   be   said   to   count   as   the   immediate   language   of   feeling;   but   its   primeval   union   with   poetry   has   deposited   so   much   symbolism   into   rhythmic   movement,   into   the   varying   strength   and   volume   of   musical   sounds,  that  now  we  suppose  it  to  speak  directly  to  the  inner  world  and  to  come   from   the   inner   world.”   (Nietzsche,   2008,   p.80)   I   do   agree   with   this.   I   believe   absolute   music   is,   rather   than   a   communicative   expression   of   feelings   of   one’s   inner  world,  it  is  directed  to  an  exploration  of  territory  in  chaos,  attempting  the   sublime  ‘paradox  of  art’  in  aesthetic  experience.  Rather  than  communication,  it  is   an  attempt  of  connection  to  the  ‘primal  chaos’,  a  greater  frame.     [Absolute   music   is]   at   a   primitive   stage   of   music   in   which   sounds   made   in   tempo   and  at  varying  volume  gave  pleasure  as  such,  or  symbolism  of  form  speaking  to  the   understanding   without   poetry   after   both   arts   had   finally   been   united   over   a   long   course  of  evolution  and  the  musical  form  had  finally  become  enmeshed  in  threads   of  feeling  and  concepts  ...  In  itself,  no  music  is  profound  or  significant,  it  does  not   speak  of  the  ‘will’  or  of  the  ‘thing  itself.’”  (Nietzsche,  2008,  p.80)     All   the   parallels   we   may   do   with   human   music   and   birdsong   have   to   acknowledge  the  bird’s  utility  in  aesthetical  expression  despite  its  development   in  form  and  creativity.   Birdsong   has   various   functions   to   the   bird   in   its   milieu,   and   they   are   all   ultimately  related  to  its  territory,  which  is  acoustically  demarked  by  it.  It  is  the   bird’s   demonstration   of   singing   skills   by   presenting   its   features   of   loudness,   beauty  of  melody  and  number  of  variations.  By  these  vocal  features  the  bird  has   the   ability   to   demark   both   a   desirable   territory   for   potential   mates   and   a   dangerous  one  for  potential  competitors.   Like   other   forms   of   exteriorizing   expression,   music   is   the   acoustical   form   of   relating  with  territory.     Based  on  Darwin,  Grosz  suggests  that  music  is  the  product  of  an  extension,  an   extrapolation   from   a   sonorous   ‘refrain’.   This   refrain   is   understood   to   be,   for   example,   the   bird’s   short   melodic   phrases   or   a   human’s   exteriorized   sonorous  

xx    


Interlude:  On  Music  and  Territory     expression,  like  an  unconscious  humming  one  may  do  when  impatiently  waiting   for  something  or  the  tapping  a  child  makes  when  wandering  around  aimlessly.   This  refrain  is  a  sonorous  exteriorization  of  one’s  living  experiences  reflected   upon   himself.   It   is   the   instinctive   character   of   being   emerging.   One   may   argue   that   these   instinctive   reactions   we   render   sonorous,   or   even   the   ones   we   do   not,   remain  part  of  our  primitive  survival  and  sexual  nature,  as  a  need  for  exploration   and  acknowledgment  of  the  surrounding  world.   Grosz   argues   that   it   is   this   refrain   that   is   the   content   of   music   in   opposition   to   being  its  raw  material,  for  it  is  this  refrain  what  “music  must  deterritorialize  in   order  to  appear”.  Thus,  directly  related  to  what  we’ve  discussed  before  regarding   art,   “music,   whose   vibratory   force   is   perhaps   more   immediate,   more   visceral,   more   neural   than   all   of   the   other   arts,   consists   in   deterritorializing   the   voice,   deterritorializing  sound,  making  each  resonate  with  a  different  set  of  vibrations   than  those  (chaotic  forces)  the  refrain  attempts  to  ward  off”  (Grosz,  2008,  p.58).     We  may  conclude,  that  in  direct  relativity  with  the  ‘paradox  of  art’,  music  does   not   function   as   a   translation,   conversion   or   restructuring   of   the   ‘refrain’   or   the   evident   forces   of   the   natural   world   reflected   by   human,   into   a   vocalization   or   sound  rendering  by  instrumentation,  but  it  is  the  rendering  of  forces  themselves,   rendering   of   forces   out   of   chaos   which   are   themselves   not   sonorous   into   a   sonorous   form:   “Music   sounds   what   has   not   and   cannot   be   heard   otherwise”   (Grosz,  2008,  p.57),  and  that  is  inarguable.     To  illustrate  this  idea  that  music  is  the  rendering  of  forces  from  chaos  into  a   form  of  expression  that  has  no  equal  in  essence  into  a  demarking  of  territory,  I   call   Bruce   Chatwin’s   “Songlines”   (Chatwin,   2008)   where   Chatwin   describes   the   relationship   of   Australian   aborigines   with   their   land   and   their   music.   This   relationship,   might   I   opine,   is   such   a   beautiful   one   in   my   view   of   what   art’s   relation   to   life   is.   The   aborigines   since   prehistoric   times   sing   out   the   names   of   everything  they  come  across:  plants,  animals,  rivers...  it  is  a  form  of  orientation   and  connection  to  their  world,  marking  their  debt  to  and  affinity  with  the  earth   and   its   particular   qualities:   “This   trail   of   words,   rhythms,   and   melodies,   along   with   dance   and   painted   forms,   religious   and   cultural   rituals,   commemorates   and   xxi    


Interlude:  On  Music  and  Territory     celebrates   this   primordial   origin—the   origin   of   territory   out   of   natural   milieus   and   chaotic   forces”   (Grosz,   2008,   p.50).   They   are   rendering   territory   into   existence  by  means  of  singing  it.7    

                                                                                                                      7  “In   theory,   at   least,   the   whole   of   Australia   could   be   read   as   a   musical   score.   There   was   hardly   a   rock   or   creek  in  the  country  that  could  not  or  had  not  been  sung” (Chatwin, 2008, p.50).   xxii    


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The  Paradox  of  Vanguard         Western  art  history,  in  the  last  centuries  since  the  renaissance  and  with  special   emphasis   in   the   romantic   era,   has   evolved   from   a   religious   based   patronage   system  to  a  secularized  and  free  form  of  expression  not  necessarily  connected  to   a  specific  ‘patron’.  This  means  that,  in  fact,  art  freed  itself  from  serving  a  mainly   religious  purpose  to  be  able  to  affirm  itself  as  a  single,  unitary,  self-­‐sufficient  and   self-­‐sustainable   form.   But   in   fact,   the   field   of   the   art   practice   ceased   to   be   religious   orientated   to   loudly   shout   ars   gratia   artis!   (=art   for   art’s   sake)   as   an   acclamation   of   this   achievement,   expressing   a   philosophy   that   the   value   of   art   and   the   only   ‘true’   art   is   detached   from   didactic,   moral   or   utilitarian   functions.   Meaning   that   art   shall   serve   no   purpose   but   itself   as   a   conceptual   quest   in   its   own   morphology.   Hegel   himself,   in   a   way   of   expressing   this   same   change,   proclaimed   that   “art   is   a   thing   of   the   past   and   that   our   epoch   has   become   the   epoch   of   the   Concept[.   This]   was   a   proclamation   of   victory   of   the   iconoclastic   Enlightenment  over  Christian  iconophilia”  (Groys,  2008).     “Art’s  value  becomes  secular,  aesthetic  and  social.  It  moves  from  sacred  buildings  to   private  ones,  and  gradually  becomes  more  public:  aristocrats  and  monarchs  build   collections   of   art   and   curious   objects,   which   are   displayed   to   their   peers,   the   bourgeois   class   follows   suit,   and   the   public   museum   is   created.”   (Hegarty,   2009,   p.169)     In   this   chapter   I   intend   to   develop   on   the   idea   of   ‘the   paradox   of   vanguard’,   which,   directly   related   to   ‘the   paradox   of   art’,   consists   on   the   idea   that   the   essence   of   the   western   world’s   avant-­‐garde   programs   function   as   forms   of   radicalism  (may  we  call  it  that  way)  in  aesthetics  and  are  ultimately  condemned   to   fail   by   at   the   same   time   succeeding,   working   through   the   forms   of   ‘paradox-­‐


The  Paradox  of  Vanguard   objects’,   having   their   apogee   and   punctual   achievements   before   being   consumed   by  the  ‘art  world’,  leaving  then  place  to  another  cycle  of  renovation  in  history  of   arts.   I   intend   to   make   a   connection   between   some   highlights   I   consider   to   be   fundamental  in  the  more  radical  forms  of  the  vanguards  in  the  art  history  of  the   post-­‐world   war   II   with   their   socio-­‐political   context   in   the   late-­‐capitalism   era.   This   will   be   the   motto   that   will   base   my   next   and   final   chapter,   ‘New   Territories,   New   Paradox:   The   Noise   of   Silence”,   which   is   the   point   to   which   I   have   been   searching  and  substantiating  my  ideas  in.  

Aesthetical-­Codes  and  Free  Beauty     “We   should   not   forget   that   all   avant-­garde   art   was   made   against   public   taste— even  and  especially  when  it  was  made  in  the  name  of  public  taste.”   (Groys,  2008,  p.6–7)     To   get   the   sense   of   how   I   consider   the   avant-­‐gardes   to   consist,   we   need   to   get   back  to  the  subject  of  the  Kantian  free  beauty:     Art  consists  on  the  pushing  of  boundaries  of  our  experience  as  human  beings.  It   is   the   monumentalization   of   sensation.   By   trying   to   outstand   mere   human   condition   it   is   actually   stressing   it   in   its   full   majesty,   it   is   pushing   its   boundaries,   driving   man   forth.   Free   beauty   is   the   sensing   of   aesthetics   rid   of   prejudices   or   pre-­‐defined  models,  paradigms  that  dictate  aesthetical  appreciation  of  the  object   in   question.   This   free   beauty   stands   in   direct   opposition   to   what   I   call   ‘aesthetical-­‐codes’;   it   is  what  the  vanguards  strive  to  reach  in  its  totality;   it  is  the   perpetual  search  of  a  refreshment  of  previous  attained  thus  petrified  aesthetical-­‐ codes:   “If   we   wish   to   discern   whether   anything   is   beautiful   or   not,   we   do   not   refer   the   representation   of   it   to   the   object   by   means   of   understanding   with   a   view   to   cognition,   but   by   means   of   the   imagination   (acting   perhaps   in   conjunction   with   understanding)   we   refer   the   representation   to   the   subject   and   its   feeling   of   pleasure   or   displeasure.   The   judgment   of   taste,   therefore,   is   not   a   cognitive   judgment,   and   so   not   logical,   but   is   aesthetic—which   means   that   it   is   one   whose   determining  ground  cannot  be  other  than  subjective.”  (Kant,  2007,  p.19)   xxiv    


The  Paradox  of  Vanguard     I  believe  that  aesthetics  are  to  a  large  extent  social  and  cultural  codes  that  work   in   ways   of   gathering   people.   I   mean,   aesthetics   is   clearly   a   subjective   topic   as   Kant  states,  but  one  can  notice  that  there  are  greater  aesthetical  differences  from   culture  to  culture  depending  on  chronology  and  geography.  Therefore  I  believe   that  this  subjectivity  has  much  to  do  with  one’s  social  and  cultural  background.   What   defines   an   existing   ‘aesthetics’ 8  and   consequently   a   taste   is   the   reproduction   of   its   ‘mannerism’,   this   is,   the   repetition   of   its   defining   traces.   To   have  a  pre-­‐defined  aesthetic  taste  means  that  the  object  of  this  taste  is  something   that   formally   has   been   repeated   time   and   time   again   and   which   frequently   solidifies   into   a   formula.   I   understand   it   as   the   falling   into   the   repetition   of   framing  of  same  parts  territory  out  of  chaos.  This  possibility  of  solidification  may   be   important   in   cultural   terms,   as   a   defining   of   a   common   cultural   identity   among   people;   I   mean,   when   it   connects   directly   to   life   and   life   activities   or   it   becomes   an   active   agent   in   rituals   of   social   gathering   (for   example   the   punk   movement   of   the   80’s   or   the   surrealist   movement   of   the   first   half   of   the   20th   century)  but,  in  the  same  way  it  may  become  a  barrier  of  conservatism  if  there  is   stagnation   in   relation   to   its   political   and   cultural   contexts,   if   there   is   no   adaptation   of   the   people   onto   new   approaches   to   fit   the   environment.   In   this   case,  art  becomes  a  familiar  mannerism  governed  by  specific  rules,  it  distances   itself  from  a  plausible  freedom  of  form,  therefore  also  from  a  ‘freedom  of  beauty’   for   it   gets   boxed   in   a   formality—it   then   becomes   pulchritudo  adhaerens9  and   a   conservative  reiteration  of  history  that  loses  pertinence.10     “The   avant-­garde   of   today   that   does   not   reiterate   accepted   mystifications   is   nevertheless   socially   repressed.   The   movement   society   desires   is   the   one   that   it   can   buy  up  —  it  is  the  pseudo-­avant-­garde.”  (Sturm  et  al.,  n.d.)                                                                                                                           8  ‘Aesthetics’   not   in   philosophical   terms   but   in   a   social   context:   an   ‘aesthetics’,   in   the   sense   of   a   common   recognition  of  an  aesthetical  language,  a  familiarity  with  the  expressive  traces  of  an  aesthetical  product.   9  In  Kantian  terms,  as  seen  before:  ‘beauty  which  is  merely  dependent’.   10  “History   that   repeats   itself   turns   to   farce.   But   a   farce   that   repeats   itself   ends   up   making   history.”   (Baudrillard,  2010,  p.9)  

xxv    


The  Paradox  of  Vanguard   After   all,   art,   as   strictly   part   of   human   life,   cannot   be   conceived   as   not   being   strictly  connected  to  its  milieu,  for  it  is  in  fact,  an  active  part  of  it:     “Today  the  great  passions  of  unity  and  freedom  disturb  the  world.  Yesterday  love   would  drive  us  to  individual  death.  Today  the  collective  passions  make  us  run  the   risk   of   universal   destruction.   Today,   just   like   yesterday,   art   searches   to   save   from   death  an  living  image  of  our  passions  and  our  sufferings.”  (Camus,  2011,  p.84)11     I   would   argue   that   what   we   are   searching   in   the   aesthetic   experience   is   to   expand  consciousness;  in  the  way  we  expose  ourselves  to  experience  something   new   that   is   ‘refreshing’   to   our   own   sensing   self.   I   do   not   perceive   this   ‘sensing   self’  as  a  shallow  concept.  It  is  one’s  full  body,  mind  and  ‘spirit’  that  reflects  itself   and   is   reflected   by   the   experience   it   can   take   out   of   an   artwork,   which   is   an   “attitude   of   intensified   or   enriched   experience   which   Kant   rightly   described   as   disinterested,   that   is,   devoid   of   practical   interest”   (Hamilton,   2007,   p.1).   The   sensing  self  is  the  one  that  dares  to  take  the  trip  to  the  experience  by  letting  itself   be  absorbed  and  touched  by  the  forces  of  chaos.   On  what  this  matters,  my  argument  is  that  the  forces  that  form  an  avant-­‐garde   attitude  are  the  forces  that  act  contrapuntally12  to  a  given  status  quo,  propelled   by  an  eager  thirst  of  aesthetical  ‘refreshment’,  in  the  search  for  a  breakthrough,   striving   to   reach   a   pure   as   possible   pulchritudo   vaga   (free   beauty)   with   each   presented   ‘singular   example’,   that   attempts   to   reorient   the   avant-­‐garde   activity   providing   a   proposal   of   “alternative   ways   to   think,   act,   feel,   and   be”   (Miller,   2009).   This   explains   also   the   close   relation   that   the   vanguards   maintain   with                                                                                                                         11  Translated   by   me   from   Portuguese:   “Hoje   as   grandes   paixões   da   unidade   e   da   liberdade   perturbam   o   mundo.  Ontem  o  amor  conduzia  à  morte  individual.  Hoje  as  paixões  colectivas  fazem-­‐nos  correr  o  risco  da   destruição   universal.   Hoje,   tal   como   ontem,   a   arte   procura   salvar   da   morte   uma   imagem   viva   das   nossas   paixões  e  dos  nossos  sofrimentos.”   12  I   use   the   term   ‘counterpoint’   inspired   in   Uexküll’s   interpretation   of   nature   and   its   living   beings’  

umwelten   as   a   musical   composition.   Different   species’s   umwelten   are   significantly   different   ‘bubbles   of   senses’,  different  evolutionary  worlds  developed  in  perfect  adaptive  shape  of  senses   in  a  way  it  resembles  a   musical  composition,  in  fact,  a  Schaferian  (1977)  variation  of  the  soundscape  of  the  world:  “Every  Umwelt  of   a   normal   animal   is   a   faultless   composition   of   nature—you   have   only   to   understand   how   to   look   for   its   themes  and  its  notes” (Uexküll, 1957, p.120). Thus, my usage of the term is not necessarilly a critical evaluation but rather a comprehension of a relationship of dependence either simbiotic or parasitical, if we may.  

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The  Paradox  of  Vanguard   science   and   technological   advance   as   sources   for   new   mediums,   thus   new   and   wider  exploring  ground  for  the  ‘quest’  of  pulchritudo  vaga.  

The  Paradox-­Object  

  “The   field   of   modern   art   is   not   a   pluralistic   field   but   a   field   strictly   structured   according  to  the  logic  of  contradiction.”   (Groys,  2008,  p.1)     One  could  argue  that  all  art  has  an  inherent  and  innate  political  essence,  such  as   any   living   human   being   who   expresses   himself,   in   the   sense   that   it   functions   as   a   reflexion   of   its   producer   in   its   specific   environment,   and   vice-­‐versa,   may   it   be   its   social,   cultural,   political,   natural   or   inner-­‐self   environment.   Art   inarguably   reflects  one’s  visions  and  fantasies  of  being  in  the  world,  and  one  who  is  in  the   world   has   no   chance   of   not   being   political   in   some   way,   even   if   one   refuses   to   be   actively  engaged  with  such  thing  as  politics.  One  can  argue  that  even  the  refusal   of  a  political  expression  or  position  is  likewise  a  political  stance,  regarding  that   the  way  one  lives  in  his  own  cultural  and  social  background  affects,  in  a  bigger  or   smaller  scale,  the  environment  around  him.13  However,  much  on  politics  and  art   can  be  discussed,  nevertheless  I  shall  focus  my  attention  on  what  I  believe  to  be   the  most  politically  important  artistic  forms  of  expression,  for  their  attempts  of   breaking   through   toward   new   territories   of   human   perception,   expression   and   way  of  being  in  the  world:  the  ones  belonging  to  the  vanguards.     According   to   Boris   Groys   the   paradigm   of   modern   art,   which   grew   since   the   classical   modernity   (thus   embodying   the   vanguards   since   the   beginning   of   the   20th   century)   lies   in   the   artists’   creation   of   ‘paradox-­‐objects’.   These   paradox-­‐ objects   are   the   result   of   an   art   that   is   not   religious   nor   political   propaganda.                                                                                                                         13  Politics  derive  from  the  Greek  word  politikos,  which  means  ‘of,  for  or  relating  to  citizens’,  so  politics  are   what   concerns   to   people   as   social   beings,   it   is   what   is   in   between   relationships   between   people   and   their   environment.   Recalling   Uexküll’s   notion   of   the   natural   organic   operation   of   species   and   their   environments,   politics  are  the  articulation  of  human  beings  in  relation  to  their  common  (or  not  so  common,  but  connected)   umwelts.  

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The  Paradox  of  Vanguard   They’re  the  expression  of  modern  art,  a  product  of  the  enlightened  atheism  and   humanism.   Groys  states  that  art,  as  an  expression  of  the  modern  world  thus  an  expression   of  the  modern  beliefs,  believes  in  balance  of  power.  Art  has  always  attempted  to   represent  the  greatest  power  in  order  to  present  a  proposal  of  balance  of  power.   He  states  that  the  “death  of  God  means  that  there  is  no  power  in  the  world  that   could  be  perceived  as  being  infinitely  more  powerful  than  any  other”  (2008,  p.2),   therefore  modern  art,  as  an  expression  of  this,  has  its  own  regulatory  character   and   its   own   power.   One   ought   to   understand   this   regulatory   power   as   the   reactive   capacity   of   art   to   the   context   it   is   inserted,   the   counterpunctual   character   to   its   milieu   in   the   conquering   of   new   territory.   Thus,   in   my   understanding,  this  is  the  reason  of  being  of  the  ‘paradox-­‐object’  that  is  a  specific   counterpoint  to  a  change  of  paradigm.     The   paradox-­‐object   appears   when   the   art   world   begins   to   function   redundantly   in   its   space/environment/influential   area.   The   art   world   starts   to   serve   its   own   purpose,   that   is,   to   theorize   its   own   nature   into   a   pleonasm,   which   begins   to   alienate   itself   from   life,   an   art   market   is   formed   and   art   begins   to   be   sterilized   and   stratified   in   an   independent   ‘cosmos’   or,   we   may   call   it   by   analogy—‘umwelt’.   This   ‘umwelt’   of   the   art   world/market,   is   carrier   of   a   big   heavy  body  for  it  imperializes  a  specific  notion  of  art  and  of  what  is  modern,  so  it   devours   all   art   surrounding   it   with   its   laws   and   rules   and   also   all   art   historical   past.  All  this  through  a  logic  of  capital  and  marketing.  This  is  how  the  art  world’s   bubble   starts   losing   its   ‘perceptive   sensors’   and   isolates   the   ‘organism’   from   other  ‘perceptive  inputs’,  reducing  the  size  of  the  umwelt  into  the  alienated  art   market  still  imperialist  in  it’s  outer  world,  like  a  blind  giant  with  heavy  feet.   Faced   with   this   evolution   from   the   art   ‘patronage’   system   logic,   which   is   basically   an   evolution   from   a   simple   patronage   system   to   a   complex   one   based   on   a   capitalist   economy   system,   the   art   world   is   sucked   into   “the   reigning   economic   system   [which]   is   a   vicious   circle   of   isolation.   Its   technologies   are   based   in   isolation,   and   they   contribute   to   that   same   isolation”   (Debord,   1967,   p.15);   this   also   inevitably   happens   in   the   ‘art   world’   for   it   becomes   inserted   in   the  economic  system.   xxviii    


The  Paradox  of  Vanguard   As   a   response   to   this,   artists   have   antagonized   and   ridiculed   this   logic   in   a   way,  the  inherent  notion  of  art  value  and  even  and  most  importantly  the  notion   of  art  itself.  This  is  the  genesis  of  what  I  consider  to  be  the  paradox-­‐object;14     “In   the   context   of   contemporary   art,   individual   artworks   began   to   be   paradox-­ objects  that  embody  simultaneously  thesis  and  antithesis.”  (Groys,  2008,  p.3)     To   name   some   examples,   one   may   remit   to   the   early   modernist   vanguards   onwards.   Dadaism   was   one   of   the   early   predecessors   of   this   ‘paradoxical’   and   counter-­‐active   logic.   R.   Mutt’s   (Marcel   Duchamp)   fountain   may   be   considered   one  of  the  first  paradox-­‐objects,  which  revolutionized  the  status  of  art  in  society,   artist   in   the   ‘art   world’,   medium,   object   in   opposition   to   œuvre,   and   the   economical   value   of   a   piece.   The   intrinsic   paradoxicality   of   the   work   is   what   renders  the  piece  humorous,  it  is  the  sabotage  of  pre-­‐established  values,  the  ones   of   social,   political,   artistic   and   aesthetic   conventions   of   yore.   In   short,   ‘The   Fountain’  was  the  profanation  of  the  sacredness  of  the  art  gallery  by  exhibiting  ‘a   joke’  which  turned  upside  down  (literally)  all  the  pre-­‐conceptions  of  the  status  of   art-­‐work.   Duchamp   exhibited   an   idea,   a   political   resistance   to   the   reigning   art   system’s   logic   in   the   form   of   a   paradox,   an   interference,   ‘noise’,   a   deadlock   in   the   logic   of   the   settled   economic   system   of   the   art   market.   By   placing   an   upside   down  urinal  in  a  gallery,  Duchamp  was  tearing  down  the  artist’s  ivory  tower  and   affirming  a  connection  between  art  and  life  (for  art,  as  we  have  concluded  before   is   directly   connected   contrapuntally   to   our   living   ‘umwelt’   and   is   reactive   within   our   milieus,   therefore   free   and   critical)   by   exposing   a   paradox   of   the   ‘lack   of   context’  of  that  object  in  the  gallery.   Similarly   to   Duchamp,   in   the   world   of   music,   John   Cage   was   the   responsible   for   a   ‘revolution’   of   the   same   kind.   In   an   early   ‘post-­‐modernist’   era,   in   1952   John                                                                                                                         14  “Significantly,   this   understanding   of   art   is   also   shared   by   the   majority   of   those   artists   and   art   theoreticians  who  aim  to  be  critical  of  the  commodification  of  art—and  who  want  art  itself  to  be  critical  of   its  own  commodification.  But  to  perceive  the  critique  of  commodification  as  the  main  or  even  unique  goal  of   contemporary   art   is   just   to   reaffirm   the   total   power   of   the   art   market—   even   if   this   reaffirmation   takes   a   form  of  critique”  (Groys, 2008, p.6).

   

xxix  


The  Paradox  of  Vanguard   Cage   presented   the   piece   4’33’’,   the   4   minutes   and   33   seconds   of   instrumental   quietness.   Like   Duchamp’s   fountain,   this   piece   also   acts   paradoxically   inside   previous   conceptions   of   what   is   music,   the   status   of   the   composer   and   the   audience,   and   the   value   of   a   piece.   This   piece   is   an   ‘artificially’   staged   piece   of   idea  witnessing  the  artificiality  of  the  system  where  it  is  inserted,  which  would   not  work  without  the  previously  discussed  redundancy  and  self-­‐consciousness  of   the  art  market  imperialized  artwork.  It  is  the  witnessing  of  an  interference  to  life   in  the  essence  of  the  art  world.  The  witnessing  of  a  ‘paradox’  of  life  in  the  essence   of   creation   in   freedom,   and   in   the   creation   of   free   beauty,   and   it   is   exposed   through   a   paradox,   an   object.   This   paradox   is   contained   in   the   act   of   framing   what  otherwise  should  not  be  necessary,  the  affirming  art  as  life,  by  breaking  the   paradigmatic   aesthetical-­‐codes   of   experiencing   music,   driving   an   attention   to   a   widening  of  perception  for  an  awareness  of  self  in  cosmos—the  paradox  of  art.   To   reach   this   paradox   (the   object’s),   is   to   attempt   a   system   jamming   for   a   breakthrough   in   a   search   for   freedom   in   its   every   sense.   It   is   to   propose   an   alternative  to  the  convention,  an  escape  from  a  vicious  cycle,  a  ‘singular  example’   of  life  framed  out  of  the  chaos.     “And   what   is   the   purpose   of   writing   music?   One   is,   of   course,   not   dealing   with   purposes  but  dealing  with  sounds.  Or  the  answer  must  take  the  form  of  paradox:  a   purposeful   purposelessness   or   a   purposeless   play.   This   play,   however,   is   an   affirmation   of   life—not   an   attempt   to   bring   order   out   of   chaos   nor   to   suggest   improvements   in   creation,   but   simply   a   way   of   waking   up   to   the   very   life   we're   living,   which   is   so   excellent   once   one   gets   one's   mind   and   one's   desires   out   of   its   way  and  lets  it  act  of  its  own  accord.”  (Cage,  1961,  p.12)     I   believe   that   this   paragraph   by   Cage   aims   exactly   to   what   I   have   been   defending   until   now.   Taking   it   apart,   by   dealing   with   sounds   and   not   purposes   it   is   implied   that   what   music   is   dealing   with   is   the   ‘effects’   of   sounds   in   sensation.   The   paradox   of   ‘purposeful   purposelessness’   Cage   suggests   stands   exactly   for   Nietzsche’s   philosophical   ‘horror’   of   existence,   where   one   recognizes   his   condition   of   cosmic   insignificance   and   uselessness;   the   atheistic   realization   of   the  lack  of   an  ultimate  purpose.  But  at  the  same  time,  this  perspective  brings  the   xxx    


The  Paradox  of  Vanguard   embracing  of  life  as  being  an  equal  part  to  any  other  ‘cosmic  body’;  it  ceases  to  be   a  ‘horror’  of  existence  to  become  the  Dionysian  experience  of  seeking  pleasure  in   existence  instead  of  an  ultimate  goal;  seeking  a  purposeful  purposelessness:  life   itself.   That   is   why,   against   a   Groszian   logic,   Cage   affirms   that   it   is   not   ‘an   attempt   to   bring   order   out   of   chaos’,   for   it   is   exactly   an   attempt   of   the   opposite,   as   we   have  concluded  before;  Cage’s  attempt  is  explicitly  the  one  of  reaching  one  direct   connection,   one   pure   form   that   dissolves   art   into   life,   the   unending   paradox   of   grasping  the  first  epiphany  of  aesthetical  ‘purity’,  experience  of  sublime  integral   to  life.  Art  becomes  a  complex  form  of  a  pursuit  for  a  life  where  there  is  nothing   but   a   hedonist   possibility   of   facing   it.   It   is,   thus,   a   political   stance   in   the   world.   Each  piece  is  a  singular  paradoxical  proposal  of  a  purposeful  purposelessness,  a   ‘singular  example’  proposal  of  experience.     Tyrus  Miller  (2009)  suggests  that  post-­‐World  War  II  avant-­‐gardes  reinvented   exemplarity15  in  their  use  of  dialectics.  This  exemplarity  stands  for  the  symbolic   essence  inherent  to  an  art  object,  the  intellectual  tool  to  its  production  and  the   ‘cultural/social’  content  to  its  experience.  Miller  argues  that  traditional  forms  of   exemplarity   tend   to   rely   on   existing   sources   of   authority,   like   tradition,   morality,   religion  or  history.  At  the  same  time,  these  sources  of  authority  act  as  a  symbolic   code,  

which,  

in  

my  

understanding  

is  

a  

form  

of  

pre-­‐

established/conservative/’doctrinarian’  like  aesthetical-­‐code.   Miller   terms   this   new   exemplarity   ‘singular   examples’—for   it   “embodies   the   paradoxical   nature   of   this   reinvention   of   exemplarity   by   the   avant-­‐garde   and   hints  at  its  distinctiveness”  (2009,  p.8).  This  term  is  a  parallel  to  what  we  have   been   discussing   as   paradox-­‐object,   in   fact,   I   find   that   both   theories   are   very   compatible,  and  complement  each  other.  Singular  examples  explain  the  paradox-­‐ objects:   they   are   the   emergence   of   a   ‘post-­‐conventional’ 16  society,   and   the   “programmatic   commitment   of   the   avant-­‐gardes   to   freeing   themselves   from   tradition  and  convention”  (Miller,  2009,  p.9).                                                                                                                         15  In   Roland   Barthes’s   words,   exemplum   “is   a   detachable   fragment,   which   specifically   involves   a   meaning   (heroic  portrait,  hagiographic  narrative)”  (2009).   16  As  characterized  by  Jürgen  Habermas  (Miller, 2009, p.9).  

xxxi  

 


The  Paradox  of  Vanguard   This   commitment   Miller   mentions   is   exactly   what   I   understand   to   be   the   paradoxical   nature   of   the   avant-­‐gardes,   in   addition   to   the   paradox-­‐objects.   Paradoxical,   but   not   at   all   in   a   negative   sense,   for   it   is   this   nature   that   keeps   motion  to  new  vanguardist  achievements.     “What   is   relevant   is   the   result:   the   loss   of   legitimacy   of   traditional   forms   of   exemplarity  and  the  range  of  responses  to  this  loss  by  avant-­garde  culture.”  (Miller,   2009,  p.9)     The   paradox   of   vanguard   is   the   constant   circular   forward   motion   of   the   vanguards  in  getting  free  from  convention  and  tradition—a  successful  search  for   free   beauty—and   inevitably   becoming   conventional,   familiar,   aesthetical-­‐codes,   giving   place   to   new   breakthrough   avant-­‐gardes.   Similar   to   Kandinsky’s   conception   of   the   ‘spiritual   triangle   of   humanity’,   as   we   may   call   it,   where   he   metaphorizes   humanity   as   a   constantly   clockwise   rolling   triangle,   divided   by   horizontal   unequal   segments   (the   lower   the   segment   the   greater   it   is   in   breadth,   depth   and   area):   “Where   the   apex   was   today   the   second   segment   is   tomorrow;   what  today  can  be  understood  only  by  the  apex  and  to  the  rest  of  the  triangle  is   an  incomprehensible  gibberish,  forms  tomorrow  the  true  thought  and  feeling  of   the  second  segment”  (2006,  p.30).  The  triangle  spins  very  slowly,  and  what  was   once   revolutionary   has   now   inescapably   become   conventionalized;   and,   in   the   world  of  late  capitalism—commoditized.   The  active  practice  of  attempting  to  destroy  art  is  the  motto  of  the  vanguardist   action  in  pursuit  of  creating  free  beauty.  

xxxii    


(Rudolph  et  al.,  2012)


4

 

New  Territories,  New  Paradox:  The  Noise  of  Silence  

“Today’s  revolution  of  aesthetics  shall  be  part  of  the  total  revolution.  A  revolution   that   creates   a   society   where   arts   be   an   integral   part   of   life,   like   in   primitive   societies,  and  not  an  appendix  of  wealth.”   (Black  Mask,  2011,  p.90)17     Throughout   this   dissertation,   I   have   attempted   to   understand   the   creative   impulse   in   and   of   humanity   existence;   its   ontology   as   an   affirmation   of   sexual   and  social  territory,  and  its  proto-­‐philosophical  character  in  the  epiphany  of  self-­‐ awareness   and   distancing   of   self   from   an   idea   of   nature,   through   the   identification  of  the  paradoxes  that  drive  the  human  eager  of  producing  artistic   objects,  so  to  say.  It  was  suggested  that  art,  aesthetical  creation,  is  product  of  our   most   primitive   creative   action   in   the   placement   of   self   in   the   world,   which   paradoxically   separates   self   from   the   primal   chaos   into   an   existentialist   reflection.  Later  on  it  was  suggested  that  this  expression  and  search  of  a  renewal   of   free   beauty   has   a   strong   political   value   in   the   struggle   for   freedom,   in   the   questioning  of  conventions  and  traditional  values  of  social-­‐codes.   The   ‘purposeful   purposelessness’   of   art   embodies   the   paradox   of   its   existence   as  the  struggle  to  life  needless  of  a  meaning,  the  reaching  onto  primal  chaos,  the   not  needing  of  a  purpose  for  life  in  the  experience  of  life  itself.   On   this   last   chapter   I   will   attempt   to   relate   the   development   of   the   world   of   late   capitalism   with   the   theory   of   what   some   regard   as   “the   only   political   writing   of   our   time”   (Jappe,   2008,   p.79),   Guy   Débord’s   Society   of   the   Spectacle,   with                                                                                                                         17  Translated   by   me   from   Portuguese:   ”A   revolução   estética   de   hoje   deverá   ser   parte   da   revolução   total.   Uma  revolução  que  crie  uma  sociedade  em  que  as  artes  façam  parte  integral  da  vida,  como  nas  sociedades   primitivas,  não  como  apêndices  de  riqueza.”    


New  Territories,  New  Paradox:  The  Noise  of  Silence   Baudrillard’s  theory  of  ‘Simulation  and  Simulacra’,  and  also  with  the  Situationist   International’s  artistic  and  political  ‘programme’,  in  order  to  reach  some  kind  of   understanding   of   the   ‘intentions’   or   ‘purposeful   purposelessness’   context   of   noise  music  of  today,  by  discerning  a  more  abstract  understanding  of  noise  and   silence   in   society.   I   shall   illustrate   and   take   as   an   analysis   model   for   extrapolation  the  work  of  Mattin.  I  also  intend  to,  throughout  this  chapter  be  able   to  articulate  the  information  discussed  previously  in  this  paper  until  this  point,   in   order   to   make   some   sense,   or   at   least   try   to   make   some   coherence,   of   the   aporias   contained   within   the   problematic   of   the   artistic   practice   in   human   nature:   the   paradoxes   I   have   acknowledge   in   culmination   to   a   last   paradox   of   actuality.  Noise  out  of  silence.  

Spectacle,  Simulacra     “Art  can  promote  a  sociobiological  solution  of  the  problems  that  is  as  energetic  as   the  revolutionaries’  political  action.  The  supposed  ‘apolitical’  approach  to  art  is  a   fallacy.   Politics   that   are   free   from   bribes,   party   connotations   or   more   transient   tactics   is   the   method   by   which   humanity   makes   ideas   real,   for   the   welfare   of   the   community.”   (Moholy-­‐Nagy,  2011,  p.92)     The  consequences  of  capitalism  in  the  modern  society  are  the  responsible  factors   for   the   birth   of   Debord’s   The   Society   of   the   Spectacle   (1967).   There   he   argues   that   reality   within   societies   that   are   dominated   by   modern   conditions   of   production   becomes   a   fake   universe   of   ‘images’   that   mediate   the   subject’s   relation   to   real   life   alienating   him   from   it.   Reality   becomes   an   unreal   spectacle   that  dominates  one’s  life  against  what  life  actually  is.  The  unreal  world  of  images,   simulations  of  a  different  reality  based  on  something  else  than  life,  becomes  the   known   real   and   something   which   is   imperialistic   upon   our   lives.   Debord’s   argument   is   that   in   the   world   of   late-­‐capitalism   “everything   that   was   directly   lived   has   receded   into   a   representation”   (Debord,   1967,   p.7).   These   representations   stand   in   direct   relation   to   what   Baudrillard   defends   to   be   the   main  drive  in  a  capitalist  society—consumption.   xxxv    


New  Territories,  New  Paradox:  The  Noise  of  Silence   This   phenomenon   (the   spectacle   in   the   capitalist   world   of   consumption)   is   responsible   for   the   change   of   the   paradigms   of   everyday   life,   everyday   environment,   and   therefore   changing   social,   political   and   artistic   practice   paradigms   as   well.   The   spectacle   is   responsible   for   the   fragmentation   of   life   in   separate  individual  cells  that  less  and  less  connect  to  each  other  at  a  social  level   (e.g.  religion,  art,  science,  philosophy,  etc.).     “When  the  real  world  is  transformed  into  mere  images,  mere  images  become  real   beings—dynamic   figments   that   provide   the   direct   motivations   for   a   hypnotic   behaviour.”  (Debord,  1967,  p.11)     Baudrillard   presents   a   compatible   idea   to   Debord’s   spectacle:   the   simulacra.   He  claims  that  in  our  current  society  reality  has  been  replaced  by  ‘images’,  that  of   symbols   and   signs,   that   represent   but   a   simulation   of   actual   reality.   But   this   ‘reality’  which  is  a  models  based  system,  has  lost  its  grasp  in  what  reality  actually   is,  being  now  just  a  self-­‐built  ‘hyper-­‐reality’  with  no  other  reference  than  itself.   To   illustrate   this   ‘reality’   which   he   argues   to   be   demolished   into   simulacra,   Baudrillard   refers   to   a   Borges’   tale:   “where   the   cartographers   of   the   Empire   draw   up   a   map   so   detailed   that   it   ends   up   exactly   covering   the   territory”   (Baudrillard,   n.d.,   p.1).   This   map   is   the   simulation   of   reality,   “but   where   the   decline   of   the   Empire   sees   this   map   become   frayed   and   finally   ruined,   a   few   shreds  still  discernible  in  the  deserts…  rather  as  an  aging  double  ends  up  being   confused   with   the   real   thing”   (Baudrillard,   n.d.,   p.1).   But   on   Baudrillard’s   perspective,  it  is  no  longer  the  territory  that  precedes  the  map,  nor  survives  it,   but   rather   the   reverse.   It   is   the   map   that   precedes   territory   and   “if   we   were   to   revive  the  fable  today,  it  would  be  the  territory  whose  shreds  are  slowly  rotting   across  the  map”  (Baudrillard,  n.d.,  p.2).     In   an   attempt   to   articulate   this   conception   of   the   world   as   a   spectacle   or   a   simulacrum   in   the   terms   we   have   been   discussing,   I   understand   that   what   has   happened  is  that  the  distancing  of  human-­‐self  to  nature  (the  cultural  nature,  the   image  of  the  chaos),  the  framing  in  between  human  being  and  the  framed  cosmic   chaos  has  been  reframed  time  and  time  again.  It  was  created  a  human  territory   xxxvi    


New  Territories,  New  Paradox:  The  Noise  of  Silence   by   the   creation   of   symbolic   ‘frames’/images   that   substituted   the   frame   of   perceived   chaos.   Therefore,   this   reframing   of   the   perception   of   chaos   begins   to   have  no  resemblance  to  its  original  intangible  nature,  the  perception  of  natural   sublime  in  human  life.   In   other   words,   the   reigning   economic   system   has   created   an   abstract   territory   of   power   that   violates   and   substitutes   the   individual   freedom   of   a   subject  to  ‘build’  a  territory  of  what  we  may  consider  the  ‘free  beauty  of  life’.  By   creating  an  illusion  of  life,  a  spectacle,  an  unreal  reality,  it  covers  a  possibility  of   grasping  the  real  chaos.   What   once   was   the   framing   of   territory   out   of   chaos   to   experience   the   deterritorialization   onto   chaos,   is   now   the   framing   of   territory   out   of   a   framed   territory  of  a  simulated  ‘chaos’  of  pre-­‐framed  territories  which  now  function  as   models   of   experience   and   aspiration   in   the   form   of   alienation.   It   is   necessary   a   consciousness  of  the  spectacle  to  be  able  to  attempt  to  run  from  it:  “The  more  he   [the   spectator]   contemplates,   the   less   he   lives;   the   more   he   identifies   with   the   dominant   images   of   need,   the   less   he   understands   his   own   life   and   his   own   desires”  (Debord,  1967,  p.16).     This   spectacle   is   the   result   of   the   capitalist   reification   of   commodity   (hence   the   ‘paradox   of   the   vanguards’,   whose   radicalism   is   ultimately   mummified   in   the   form  of  image  commodities).   Reality  has  now  become  a  paradox.  It  hides  real  life  from  the  living  in  order  to   feed   a   machine   of   images   of   fake   into   a   nowhere   going   existence   of   commoditized  alienation.     The  art  market  serves  capitalism  presenting  itself  as  a  commodity.  This  makes   it   an   exclusive   bourgeois   product   for   in   its   essence   it   is   a   reiteration   of   itself   inside  a  closed  circle  ran  by  economy  that  makes  art  lose  its  umbilical  connection   with   life   to   exchange   it   for   a   world   of   images   that   already   attained   their   legitimacy   in   a   world   of   the   spectacle.   The   art   market   is   dominant   in   the   art   world.  Therefore  the  image  of  the  art  world  is  serving  this  spectacle  itself.    

xxxvii    


New  Territories,  New  Paradox:  The  Noise  of  Silence   According   to   Groys,   “art   becomes   politically   effective   only   when   it   is   made   beyond  or  outside  the  art  market.”  (Groys,  2008,  p.7)     Debord   and   the   Situationist   International   pursued   a   policy   of   ‘revolutionary   action   within   culture’,   based   on   their   belief   of   the   ‘revolution   of   everyday   life’.   Their   solution   was   “the   re-­‐invention   of   life   outside   the   rules   unilaterally   laid   down   by   the   spectacle.”   (Russel,   2008,   p.85)   With   this   as   a   basis,   within   the   arts,   they  theorized  ‘a  way  out’,  a  resistance  to  these  rules,  an  ‘ultimate  weapon’:  the   ‘constructed   situation’.   Fundamental   to   this   idea   is   the   understanding   of   the   Situationist  project  as  an  attempt  to  build  a  new  form  of  subjectivity  and  social   consciousness,  structured  on  a  strong  idea  of  freedom.  The  goal  was  to  break  the   ‘perfectly  closed  circle’  of  the  spectacle,  and  re-­‐enter  real  life  experience.   These   ‘constructed   situations’   work   basically   as   subversive   anti-­‐spectacle   actions.   In   my   understanding   they   are   based   on   the   idea   of   the   vanguardist   search  for  ‘free  beauty’  we  have  discussed  before,  in  the  way  that  they  work  as   an   attempt   of   breaking   through   into   chaos,   to   be   revolutions   of   human   experience,  to  provide  a  new  connection  and  relation  to  real  life.  The  attempt  is   to   exceed   human   condition,   it   is   Zarathustra’s   quest   to   achieve   the   over-­‐man.   (Nietzsche,  2003)  

 

Noise   “Noise  is  best  defined  as  interference.”18   (Reynolds,  2006,  p.55)     Jacques   Attali,   on   his   book   Noise   (2009),   claims   this   society   of   spectacle   as  

being   also   the   society   of   silence,   for   it   “eliminates   dialogue;   the   organization   of   the   monologue   by   political   and   economic   organizations   isolates   and   prevents   direct,  localized,  non-­‐repeatable  communication”  (Toth,  2008,  p.27).  Csaba  Toth   states  that  “these  considerations  enable  us  to  theorize  the  rise  of  noise  music  as                                                                                                                         18  I  shall  adopt  Reynolds  definition  of  noise  as  my  own  henceforward.   xxxviii    


New  Territories,  New  Paradox:  The  Noise  of  Silence   a  form  of  cultural  disturbance  in  the  silent  and  silenced  deindustrialized  space  of   late  capitalism”  (Toth,  2008,  p.27).  Indeed.  My  understanding  of  the  silence  Attali   declares   to   be   the   ‘acoustics’   of   the   current   society,   is   that   thus   silence   can   at   the   same  time  be  the  most  unbearable  noise,  when  one  is  aware  of  it,  or  better.  My   argument   is   that,   if   one   considers   noise   as   interference,   the   ‘silence’   of   the   spectacle  is  the  biggest  interference  to  real  life.   John   Cage   state’s   that   “wherever   we   are,   all   we   hear   is   noise.   When   we   ignore   it,   it   disturbs   us.   When   we   listen   to   it,   we   find   it   fascinating.”   (Cage,   1961)   I   believe   nowadays   society   functions   reversely.   Wherever   we   are,   all   we   hear   is   silence.  When  we  ignore  it,  we  remain  hypnotised.  When  we  listen  to  it,  we  find  it   unbearable!     I  believe  that  the  in  the  wide  understanding  of  noise  music,  one  can  find  the   current   equivalent   to   SI’s   concept   of   ‘constructed   situation’,   a   response   and   a   resistance  to  the  hypnotist  power  of  the  spectacle.     “‘Noise’   not   only   designates   the   no-­man’s-­land   between   electro-­acoustic   investigation,   free   improvisation,   avant-­garde   experiment,   and   sound   art;   more   interestingly,  it  refers  to  anomalous  zones  of  interference  between  genres:  between   post-­punk   and   free   jazz;   between   musique   concrète   and   folk;   between   stochastic   composition  and  art  brut.”  (Russel,  2008)     Since   Russolo’s   The   Art   of   Noises   (1986)   in   1913,   that   the   use   of   non-­‐musical   sounds   in   music   became   a   reality.   Russolo   thought   contrapuntally   to   a   new-­‐born   industrial  society  and  decided  to  use  the  sounds  of  this  new  world  of  machines   as   a   musical   response,   and   adaptation   into   the   exploration   of   new   creative   territory.   Nowadays,   society’s   noise   is   silenced   in   alienation;   it   is   the   interference   provoked   by   the   spectacle   of   reality.   Noise   music   acts   contrapuntally   to   this   society   in   reflecting   this   ‘silenced   noise’   subversively   as   an   aesthetical   experience,   which   breaks   the   paradigms   and   conceptions   of   what   is   music,   transforming   it   into   new   constructed   situations.   In   a   world   where   “popular   music  is  pre-­‐digested”  (Adorno,  1941),  a  commodity  of  masses,  an  engine  of  the   xxxix    


New  Territories,  New  Paradox:  The  Noise  of  Silence   spectacle,  noise  music  attempts  to  tear  down  what  there  is  of  ‘music’  in  itself,  as   a   vanguard,   it   is   a   counter-­‐cultural   attempt   of   eradicating   what   of   art   it   may   contain,   which,   paradoxically   makes   it   take   the   step   into   the   new   unframed   chaos.     The   free   utilization   of   noise,   as   in   noise   music,   is   the   paradox-­‐object   of   the   spectacle,   it   is   its   thesis   and   anti-­‐thesis.   Noise’s   paradox   functions   analogue   to   John  Cage’s  4’33’’  for  it  is  an  emphasizing  of  what  is  already  there,  it  ceases  to  be   silence   to   become   the   foreground   of   contemplation,   an   empowering   of   awareness.  Then  one  can  finally  distinguish  the  spectacle  from  life.     This   I   believe   Mattin’s   performative   work   has   achieved   radically,   cannot   be   achieved  if  one  doesn’t  dare  to  leave  behind  their  safe  zone  “and  expose  [oneself]   in   the   face   of   the   internalized   structures   of   judgment   that   govern   our   appreciation  of  music.”  (Mattin,  2008,  p.20)   Mattin’s  performance  work  is  what  I  consider  to  be  a  very  important  ‘singular   example’  artistic  reaction,  for  its  pertinence  and  aesthetical  character.  19   Mattin   is   a   Basque   artist   working   with   noise   and   improvisation.   His   work   addresses  the  social  and  economic  structures,  with  a  radical  political  approach,   of   experimental   music   through   live   performance,   recordings   and   writing.   He   explores   the   world   of   improvisation   and   experimentation   as   an   attempt   “to   achieve   freedom   whatever   the   fuck   that   means.”   (Mattin,   2007)   Mattin   aims   to   question  the  nature  and  parameters  of  improvisation,  and  specifically,  the  idea  of   ‘freedom’   and   the   constant   innovation   that   it   traditionally   implies,   and   the   established  conventions  of  improvisation  as  a  genre.  This  reflection  of  freedom   in  improvisation  is  directly  related  to  the  raised  questions  of  social  relationships   between   public   and   performers,   the   distinction   between   artist   and   audience,   the   interaction  between  performer  and  instrument,  social  space  and  physical  space,  

                                                                                                                      19  See  Appendix.      

xl  


New  Territories,  New  Paradox:  The  Noise  of  Silence   which   Mattin   jeopardizes   and   pushes   boundaries   of,   exposing   the   fragility   of   these  social  negotiations  when  faced  in  an  unfamiliar  situation.   In   his   performance   work,   he   utilizes   noise   not   only   sonorously,   but   constructing  a  situation  where  a  spectacle  of  interference  is  created.  He  creates  a   game  of  power  and  territory  where  he  takes  control  of  the  social  reality,  imaging   this   idea   of   the   spectacle,   he   exposes   it   as   social   noise   with   uncomfortable   silence,   and   transforms   it   sonorous   noise,   rendering   social   alienation.   Mattin   recreates  a  spectacle  that  acts  as  a  playful  allegory  of  the  society  of  the  spectacle.     We   can   understand   that   noise   music,   paradoxically   by   striving   for   the   obliteration   of   the   conception   of   music   (the   conventionally   accepted   music)   approaches  more  Nietzschian  concept  of  absolute  music,  as  seen  in  the  ‘animal  of   music’,  for  it  is  completely  disconnected  to  an  ‘inner  world’  or  to  the  expression   of   personal   feelings   as   in   poetry.   It   is   rather   the   reflection   of   a   world   that   is   corrupted   by   the   spectacle,   for   it   is   the   counterpoint   response   to   the   current   status   quo   that   can   break   into   the   chaos   to   frame   it   contextually.   Noise   music   puts   the   spectacle   in   contrast   to   real   life,   it   has   a   primal   approach   into   the   unveiling   of   the   spectacle,   just   as   the   Australian   aborigines,   noise   ‘sings’   the   territory  of  reality  into  existence.     Noise  music  is  definitively  a  no-­‐man’s-­‐land  in  its  morphology  and  is  a  paradox   also,   for   it   only   remains   noise   while   it   functions   as   interference.   “Success,   would,   in  any  case  signal  the  end  of  noise”  (Hegarty,  2009,  p.126),  therefore,  this  success   (as   acknowledgment   and   conventionalization   of   its   form   as   a   culturally   accepted   aesthetics–in  a  society  of  spectacle  perhaps)  will  only  give  place  for  a  new  form   of  noise,  a  new  form  of  vanguard  for  the  advancement  of  man  as  a  being  of  chaos.   One  may  conclude  that  noise,  defined  as  interference,  is  a  priori  an  amorphous   concept,   for   it   is   only   recognizable   inserted   in   the   context   it   is   presented.   Therefore  one  may  understand  the  radicalism  of  the  vanguards  of  the  past  and   the   eager   of   man   to   leave   his   comfort   zone   and   reach   out   to   new   territory   of   chaos  as  forms  of  noise  in  their  specific  sociopolitical  contexts,  for  it  is  necessary   to  ‘interfere’  with  conserved  conventions  to  breakthrough  onto  new  freedom.     xli    


New  Territories,  New  Paradox:  The  Noise  of  Silence     Throughout   this   dissertation   I   have   attempted   to   map   ontologically   the   relation  between  human  being  and  its  creative  genius,  and  argue  the  politicality   of  art  in  human  social  environment/umwelt.  I  believe  that  we  may  conclude  that   the  paradoxical  relation  of  man  with  his  umwelt  in  what  concerns  to  man’s  own   placement  in  nature  or  chaos,  is  what  drives  him  forward  in  exploration  of  new   territories   of   ‘humanity’.   Noise   music   is,   I   believe,   one   of   the   current   forms   of   aesthetical  rebellion  toward  a  ‘total  revolution’  for  ‘total  freedom’,  “whatever  the   fuck   that   means”,   it   is   the   goal   of   a   living   experience.   It   is   surely   the   ‘noise   of   music’,   until   it   ceases   to   be   noise…   and   is   silenced   back   in   the   simulacrum   of   reality…  it  shall  be  the  resistant  power  that  exalts  life  into  existence.  

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5

 

Appendix  

      In  September  2009,  I  attended  to  Todaysart  festival,  in  The  Hague,  Netherlands.   It   was   there   that   I   had   my   first   contact   with   the   work   of   Mattin,   which   caused   an   immense  impression  on  me.   Mattin’s   performance   at   Todaysart   was   to   be   mistaken   for   a   concert,   for   there   was  no  title  to  it  except  for  his  name.   One   would   enter   a   room   where   there   would   be   nothing   but   Mattin   at   its   centre,   standing   in   front   of   a   microphone   with   a   burning   hot   bright   spotlight   pointed  at  him.  The  audience’s  reaction  was  to  find  a  place  to  sit  somewhere  on   the   floor   and   wait…   wait   till   everyone   comes   in…   and   then   wait   till   the   ‘show’   starts…   but   no   one   really   noticed   the   ‘show’   was   already   going   on   for   awhile.   Thus,   the   audience   enjoyed   the   relaxation   of   the   preliminaries   of   a   concert   while   talking   to   each   other,   filling   the   room   with   the   usual   human   voice   hum.   Mattin   remained   quiet,   looking   quite   tense   and   static.   His   presence   generated   some   discomfort,   but   nothing   that   could   not   be   ignored.   The   audience   was   uncertain   on  whether  to  shut  up  or  not.  This  tension  grew  with  time.  Of  a  sudden,  lights  go   out  and,  making  people  hop  of  scare,  a  striking,  deafening,  painful  wall  of  noise  is   fired  off  the  speakers,  that  shakes  even  the  floor  tiles.  This  painfully  loud  noise   lasted,   I   may   guess,   for   around   five   minutes,   in   pure   darkness.   One   was   immerse   in   a   violent   whirlpool   of   invisible   matter   that   would   shake   one’s   bones.   All   perspective   was   lost,   reality   was   destroyed.   There   was   just   a   screen   of   darkness,   retina  noise  and  a  wall  of  sonorous  concrete.  Some  people  could  not  bear  it  and   left  the  room.   Lights   turned   on   again   and   noise   ceased   again   unexpectedly.   Everyone   seemed   at   least   a   bit   shocked.   Silence   reigned   for   a   while,   while   the   tympana   adapted  to  the  sudden  changes  and  contrasted  the  silence  with  the  reminiscent   noise  still  ringing  in  our  ears.  


Appendix   At   some   point,   with   much   time   of   uncomfortable   lingering   in   a   silent   room   and   now   with   the   ‘fear’   of   a   second   scare,   Mattin   mumbled   a   few   words   on   his   trembling  voice.  His  improvised  broken  speech,  in  the  little  I  could  understand  of   it,  was  impelling  the  audience  to  do  something,  to  say  something,  to  improvise,   and  at  the  same  time  ‘threatening’  with  noise.  I  remember  him  saying  stuff  like:   “The  noise  will  come  back”,  “You  have  the  power  to  unmute  the  track  by  saying   something”   to   which   I   responded   “Something!”   and   had   no   more   than   his   eyes   fixed   on   me   for   a   while,   and   great   discomfort.   The   tension   was   huge,   until   the   noise   stroke   again!   Each   time   it   seemed   longer.   Each   time   more   people   would   leave  the  room.   This  cycle  was  repeated  6  times.  Until  in  the  last  flood  of  noise  and  darkness,   with   five   people   remaining   including   me;   Mattin   left,   leaving   us   to   look   at   a   microphone   and   an   open   door   when   finally   the   lights   went   on.

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6

 

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